For those of you who did not know, September is Suicide Prevention Month. A whole month focused on raising awareness on suicide and discussing ways we can all work together to prevent suicide. At The Kim Foundation we will be doing a variety of things, both virtual and in-person, throughout the month. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for different activities and information as we will be posting on there throughout the month.
I wanted to take a little bit of time to discuss some different statistics surrounding suicide. In the United States we lose 132 lives every day to suicide. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for 10-34 year old’s. There are many statistics that are all together alarming, unexpected, and deeply saddening.
More importantly though are what these statistics represent. They represent individuals. Individuals who were struggling and did not know where to turn or where to get help. Individuals who MUST be remembered for the strength, courage, and bravery they had even in their lowest moments of their lives. Individuals whose life has and will continue to impact so many other individuals. The thing with these statistics is that they cannot be minimalized. When we read these statistics, instead of just seeing numbers, we NEED to see people. People like you and me. And when we begin to see them as people the conversation around suicide prevention changes. We begin to truly realize the important of quality mental health care. We begin to notice how prevalent the stigma is surrounding mental health and even though it has decreased over the years there is still work that still needs to be done. When we see these statistics as people, we begin to have more conversations surrounding mental health and suicide because it is too important not to.
To families, friends, and communities who have lost a loved one to suicide, you will be in my thoughts this month. I am sure it is not an easy month for you. At The Kim Foundation we will be working hard to educate the community on suicide warning signs and provide hope and healing in whatever ways we can. For me personally, whenever I see any statistics surrounding suicide, I will think of what those numbers represent. I will think of the friends, family, coworkers, and community members who remember the life each of those individuals lived and the legacy they will continue to have. Lastly, suicide prevention month is focused on just that, prevention. Everything I mentioned above is beyond important, but it is also important to note that suicide is preventable. There is hope, and healing is 100% possible. We can all work together to prevent suicide. Know the warning signs and then look out for your friends, family, and coworkers. Notice someone acting different or appear to be very sad? Have a conversation with them. Check in. There are resources available that can help if you or a loved one is struggling. Together, we can work to save lives and stop suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, please call 1.800.273.8255.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.